Freemium collaborative tools are becoming increasingly popular by the day because of their low (mostly no) cost. Freemium is a marketing tactic used by SaaS (Software as a Service) companies that provide both free and paid versions of their software collaborative tools. However, not every free online collaborative tool is the panacea for all your problems. Many of them have certain risks that if not tackled correctly, can create major issues. Some of the main issues associated with such tools include the following:
The COVID 19 pandemic has led to increased reliance on different kinds of Freemium (a portmanteau of ‘free’ and ‘premium’) tools that enable us to work online while being under effective lockdown. While their user-friendliness cannot be denied, the fact remains that they also have data overexposure issues. Many tools retain the channels, chats, and unzip files exchanged by participants on these collaboration platforms. Such data may be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Sometimes, people like to save their conversations on open hard drives that don’t offer sufficient protection from unscrupulous elements. Many free collaborative tools do not have the necessary safeguards in place that allow them to stop employees from sharing unauthorized data.
The Smart Home Industry
The smart home industry is also prone to risks from freemium collaborative tools. There exist many apps that you may enthusiastically download free and use the same to run your smart appliances. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that they will optimize your smart home devices. On the contrary, they can easily overuse your heating, lighting, and even HVAC equipment – leading to a hefty energy bill at the end of the day. This holds true for both private residences as well as buildings being used for commercial purposes.
Inadvertent Data Leakage
Data collection lies at the heart of the Freemium model. They mine your data for useful information for advertising purposes. Many people happily click ‘yes’ on every question without realizing they are giving the freemium collaborative tool, near unrestricted access to their personal information.
Lack of Support
Many companies that launch freemium products do so because they expect you pay them later. This is why there is hardly any support for their free offerings. If you have an issue, you will either lose your data or pay a hefty amount for its ‘top of the line’ premium version. This means that it is not a viable long-term solution, irrespective of your online collaboration needs. Such lack of support in the middle of a pandemic can cause losses to companies who rely on them as their sole means of communication. There are also several feature limitations that can be frustrating for the user. You can see the icons but clicking them does not really do anything until you pay up for the service. If you need these services free of cost, you may have to look for other solutions.
Solutions to the Problems Faced by Fermium User
It is ok if you or your company cannot (or don’t want to) pay premium costs for premium services. If you learn how to use freemium software tools correctly, you will be able to derive maximum mileage from them. For example, you might consider using a VPN in order to mitigate the risks involved in using a freemium online collaboration tool. HVAC equipment can also be run with the help of the IoT (internet of things), but a VPN can mask your data and make it more difficult to hack into your smart home system. Apart from that, it would also help if you have multiple freemium apps for the same use. In case one goes down, you can resort to another one to ensure that the work continues to flow as smoothly as it ever did before.
In light of the above discussion, it would be safe to conclude that freemium online collaborative tools provide a great service for many individuals as well as organizations. However, there are many issues related to their use in terms of data overexposure and lack of efficiency. Moreover, they lack adequate customer support. However, these problems may be tackled with the help of VPNs (to protect your privacy) and using backup apps to ensure continuous workflow.
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